2012 Record: 1-11 (0-8 in MAC)
Head Coach: Terry Bowden (second year at Akron)
Last Bowl Game: 2005 Motor City Bowl: lost to Memphis 38-31
Stadium: InfoCision Stadium in Akron, OH (capacity = 30,000)
Home Field Advantage: ranked 51st out of 55 mid-major teams
Most likely conference wins: 10/19 at Miami (OH), 11/16 at UMass
Out of Conference: 8/29 at UCF, 9/7 vs James Madison, 9/14 at Michigan, 9/21 vs Louisiana
Stat to Fear: -1.14 turnover margin (tied for last in the MAC)
Stats to Cheer: had 161 pass plays of 10 or more yards (1st in MAC); held opponents to 35.88% on third downs (2nd in MAC)
Advanced Stats (Football Outsiders 2012 FEI Ranking): 98th out of 124 teams
Phil Steele’s Returning Starters: Offense: 7, Defense 7, Special Teams 2
Key Defensive Returnees: LB Justin March (62 tackles), DT Cody Grice (47 tackles), S Johnny Robinson (61 tackles), CB Malachi Freeman (54 tackles)
Key Offensive Returnees: RB Jawon Chisholm (953 yds rush, 5.29 ypc, 5 TD), WR L.T. Smith (48 rec), WR Dee Frieson (48 rec), WR Keith Sconiers (41 rec), WR Jerrod Dillard (29 rec, 9 TD)
The Akron Zips have won a total of three games over the last three years under two different coaches. If you are a betting man that doesn’t exactly inspire confidence to pick the Zips when you are scouring your list of college football betting sites. In Terry Bowden’s second year, he will continue to try to change the culture and start winning some games in Akron.
QB Dalton Williams, who threw the ball 522 times last season for a total of 3387 yards has exhausted his eligibility. Kyle Pohl is the expected starter but former Colorado QB Nick Hirschman is transferring to Akron and will be eligible this fall. The RB situation is in decent hands with the top two rushers from 2012 both returning. The Zips lose their leading receiver, Marquelo Suel (76 receptions) but return pretty much everybody else. The offensive line, which wasn’t bad last year, will be a work in progress as the two most experienced linemen are gone and the Zips return just two starters (although two sophomores do have a few starts under their belts).
The defensive line will return mostly intact but do lose their best player, J.D. Griggs (6 sacks). The middle of the defense will have to replace their top two LBs but the secondary returns three of four starters and three back-ups with experience.
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